69. Domenico Piola

Genoa 1627 – 1703 Genoa

Allegory of Winter, circa 1676

The multiple directions in which this drawing can be read, and the viewpoint da sotto in su – which creates vertiginous foreshortening in the representation of the figures – indicate that it is a preparatory design for a ceiling. The very specific shape of the frame and the iconography connect it to Domenico Piola’s decorations in the Palazzo Rosso, Genoa, circa 1676. Although the composition comes quite close to the final result, it can be distinguished from it at this stage by the number and disposition of the figures, as well as by the decorative elements framing this opening towards the sky. In the fresco, the quadraturista Sebastiano Monchi ignored Piola’s directions and developed a more complex programme – unless possibly Piola had here only sketched the frame to fix its form and the general look of the ornamentation in his mind’s eye. The complexity of these vast Baroque decorative schemes frequently required collaboration between architectural and figurative painters.